Cross Connection - The Basics
What is a cross connection?
A cross connection, as defined by the Washington State Department of Health, is "any actual or potential physical connection between a public water system or the consumer's water system and any source of non-potable liquid, solid, or gas that could possibly contaminate the potable (drinking) water supply by backflow."
Why does the City have a cross connection program?
The City of Olympia is responsible to ensure that all customers have a safe and reliable drinking water supply and that contaminants cannot enter the system. Water utilities, such as the City of Olympia, are required by Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 246.290.490 to have a cross connection control program that works to prevent the backflow of contaminants into the public water system. On October 4, 2011, the Olympia City Council adopted changes to the Olympia Municipal Code (OMC) 13.04 for Water, including cross connection control requirements. Click on the link to review the cross connection and backflow protection OMC 13.04.110.
What is the concern about backflow?
Water on customer property (for example, within fire sprinkler systems, irrigation systems, and water-using equipment) can possibly contain contaminants that would put the public water supply at risk. As an example, a loss of pressure in the public water system could draw the contaminated water back into the public water system. Studies have shown links between waterborne disease outbreaks and the backflow of contaminants from private property. It is critically important to prevent backflow to protect public health.
What is my responsibility as a water utility customer?
In accordance with City ordinance and State requirements, property and business owners are responsible to either remove cross connections or to install and maintain backflow assemblies where they are needed. Water utility customers are also responsible to have backflow assemblies tested annually by a State Certified Tester.
What is a backflow prevention assembly?
A backflow prevention assembly is a device that is installed on a customer's property to prevent contamination from entering the potable water supply. There are four types of devices:
- Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly
- Double Check Valve Assembly
- Pressure Vacuum Breaker
- Spill Resistant Pressure Type Vacuum Breaker
Where is a backflow assembly required?
A backflow assembly is required wherever there is a possibility of a cross contamination between the public water system and a non-potable water source. Examples include, but are not limited to, irrigation systems, drainage systems, and water-using equipment.
Questions about cross connection? Contact Steve Coke, City of Olympia, Public Works Department, at 360.753.8161, or email email@example.com
Need a permit? Contact the City of Olympia Community Planning and Development Department, at 360.753.8314, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Need related water quality information? Contact the Public Works office.
Visit our City Services page for links to other City Services and contact information (phone numbers)